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The city of Kavala, on the Gulf of Kavala in eastern Macedonia, is a location famed for its natural beauty, beaches and harmonious integration of the ancient with the modern.
Kavala is a principal port for northern Greece, and has a picturesque harbour area where a multitude of colourful fishing vessels - known as caiques - are moored. The harbour area is a good place for a leisurely stroll, as is Kavala's old town.
The historical quarter, known as Panagia, is surrounded by old Byzantine walls that envelop a tangled web of narrow streets, pastel-hued houses and miniature gardens. Highlights of the old district include the Kamares aqueduct, built by Suleiman the Magnificent, and the Imaret, an Islamic building with connections to Mohammed Ali.
Continuing through Panagia and up the hill will take you to a 16th century Byzantine castle, a vantage point which affords excellent views over the city below. Kavala also boasts an intriguing archaeological museum at Ethnikis Anistasis.
There is no shortage of entertainment and amusement in Kavala. The pristine beaches, many of which have received the Blue Flag award, offer opportunities for swimming and sunbathing; sailing is also popular on the waters of the Aegean Sea. In the town itself, visitors can engage in a variety of sports, including tennis, basketball and volleyball. The mountains beyond Kavala have good summer hiking trails and winter ski slopes.
Thassos, the only Macedonian island, is only a short ferry trip away from Kavala, and beach enthusiasts may want to take a daytrip here to explore an alternative range of sandy shores. Also located nearby is the 2,300-year-old town of Phillipi, archaeologically valuable for the remains of two Christian basilicas, as well as the ancient acropolis and the restored theatre, where summer performances can be enjoyed.
Buses arrive at Kavala from Athens, Thessaloniki and a few other cities. Alternatively, there are ferries from certain Aegean islands. The city can be reached from the air by charter flights from Athens and some European cities.